Jeff Berlin fired by Frank Zappa

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by holytiamat777, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. holytiamat777


    Mar 29, 2008
    Ok, can someone explain to me why Frank would ever fire such an amazing musician? What happened exactly?
  2. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Just a hunch.
    But, I'm guessing that their personalities clashed.
    IamGroot likes this.
  3. Did anything Zappa ever did, including lyrics, ever make any sense?

    Side note: The sound guy at Workplay Theater in Birmingham, AL....well he was on Zappa's crew for many, many, many's great to hear that guy throw out random Zappa strories.

    Also, I bet if you email Jeff Berlin, he will tell you why...seems to be an open kind of guy.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  4. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    The story as I understand it -- and my understanding is based on two sources: Jeff's description of the situation at a clinic he gave at Berklee in 1980 or 81, and Frank's description of the situation from his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book -- is that Jeff, knowing that he's such an amazing musician, basically went to Frank and said "I'm an amazing musician, I should get paid more than the other not-so-amazing musicians in your band." Frank paid all his sidemen the same salary, and told Jeff to take a hike if he wanted more money.

    And lest anyone say something like "Berlin is an arrogant egotistical blowhard for thinking he's so much better that he deserves more money"

    ...he got the idea from Vinnie Coliuta, who made the exact same request and was also fired by Frank.
    The Owl, Reedt2000, IamGroot and 2 others like this.
  5. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    It was Frank's band period. Remember he tanked a whole tour because the other members didn't like his choice in bassist, Frank stood by his choice.;)
  6. lesclaypoolsob

    lesclaypoolsob Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    Just about everything Zappa did definitely made sense, so I'm not sure what you mean. There was indeed a method to his madness.
  7. Captain_Arrrg


    Jan 23, 2008
    Mountains of Colorado
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    I would have paid Frank to let me deliver cheeseburgers during rehearsal.

    Uhhhh, Mr. Berlin, I do believe that's the gift horse's mouth....
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  8. That's exactly what I'd imagine coming out of Berlin's mouth!
    The Owl likes this.
  9. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Jeff Berlin, Having a personality clash with someone? Nah, that only happens to opinionated people.:D
    The Owl and rtav like this.
  10. Sneckumhaw


    Apr 26, 2006
    Wasn't that when he had Thunes on bass? I never understood why the others hated him so much, he seemed like an excellent bassist.
    The Owl likes this.
  11. Excellent bassist, but I heard he was the hateful type.
    The Owl likes this.
  12. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    I don't know Scott Thunes, but I DO know that being on tour with any band is a WHOLE LOT MORE than just good (or excellent, for that matter) musicianship . . .

    That whole "group dynamics" BS, if ya' know what I mean . . .

    ImprecisionBass likes this.
  13. Sneckumhaw


    Apr 26, 2006
    True enough.
  14. J.D.B.


    Mar 11, 2007
    Frank liked Scott, and he liked what Scott was doing and told him so. The rest of the band hated him, and he, them. That band basically self destructed as in, "The best band you never heard in your life". (From the Zappa book, as well). Yup, flaky artist types with attitudes sometimes get ugly quick. Old story.
    The Owl likes this.
  15. Brennan


    Sep 29, 2004
    I heard that he was fired for playing the "Charlie Brown" theme.
  16. AlphaMale


    Oct 30, 2006
    Ventura County
    very interesting I didn't know this.
  17. hills1234


    May 6, 2007
    Frank: "I've written a new song. Here, Mr Berlin, I've written your bass part out in tab."

    Jeff: "#*!!*##@!"

    Frank: [points to door]

    scottm, The Owl and J_Bass like this.
  18. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    frank zappa using tab made me lol irl.
    rtav likes this.
  19. Scott was intolerant to the extreme, he even said in an interview that if someone tried to take a conversation with him to a "moronic" level, he would turn around and go away.

    Jeff Berlin deserved that "raise", he is a true genius, and as much as i love Frank and his music, if he couldn´t afford Jeff it was his loss.
  20. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Sounds more to me like he was giving each member equal pay, rights etc, which IMO was the right thing to do.
    I'm sure he could have afforded it.
    The Owl and ImprecisionBass like this.
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